What Are Your Technology Resolutions?

The telecom, IT, and cloud industries evolve quickly, and it can be difficult to keep up with the rapid pace of change. Evaluate your business’s technology needs now to start 2017 off on the right foot.

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Preserving the Organization’s Reputation Through Cybersecurity

CybersecurityHackers and cyber villains are lurking in just about every corner of commerce today, from skimmers at gas stations to massive enterprise and governmental system infiltrations. These compromises are incredibly costly, not only in dollars but also in damage to a business’s reputation. Protecting against such crimes has become a multi-billion dollar industry. Companies of all sizes must invest in cyber security programs to protect themselves and their customers.

The Impact of Reputational Loss

Nearly everyone who reads online news has heard about the financial ramifications of a breach. Not only must a company correct the vulnerability, but they also must help affected parties repair and recover their losses. A successful hacker may collect records for months before being detected, putting millions of consumers and patients at risk of identity theft and financial losses. Breach amelioration costs can quickly reach millions or billions of dollars.

Recovery is not where the catastrophe ends. Even with effective breach handling, the future of an affected company is at risk. Revenues will shrink nearly immediately as consumers look for other vendors or providers of the service and will likely remain severely diminished for a long time period. In many cases, the combination of recovery expense and sharply declining revenue could easily be a company’s end.

In the event that a breached business does manage to recover, the future may be complicated. Regulatory agencies may step in and microscopically review practices and policies, requiring significant time and effort from company stakeholders to comply. All factors considered, reputational damage can be as costly as financial losses.

Building a Security-Minded Team

As hackers create new ways to breach systems and acquire sensitive data, the enterprise’s security processes and procedures must also shift and change. Creating a strong mindset of security in an organization allows streamlined evolution to occur as needed. Every level of the business, from the Board of Directors down to the most entry-level employees, must be educated on cybersecurity and simple ways to prevent exposure. Criminals will go to great lengths to obtain informational assets, and some techniques are as basic as chatting up the administrative assistant.

Multi-Pronged Cybersecurity Efforts

A number of factors will strengthen the company’s security program:

  • Intrusion prevention and detection systems should be active and routinely updated.
  • Train each team member on how to avoid social engineering and phishing attempts.
  • Keep systems separate; many breaches have occurred at the supply chain connection to core systems. Failing to protect that gap has led major enterprises into massive incidents.
  • Restrict privileged access and provide the minimal permissions level required by an individual’s job description.
  • Stay on top of updates to anti-virus/malware signatures.
  • Create and practice an Incident Response Plan, complete with crisis mode.
  • Consider appointing a key officer for security and compliance if one does not already exist.
  • Obtain appropriate and adequate cyber insurance to protect the company should an incident occur. Having a well-constructed security program often reduces the cost of such protection.

Cybersecurity is an important topic today, and companies that fail to execute an effective program typically suffer a tragic fate as their reputation crumbles. For more information on constructing a strong security program, contact ROI Networkstoday.

What’s Next for Enterprise WAN

WANConsidering the increasing complexity in the realm of enterprise connectivity, WAN was a welcome solution when originally conceived. Multiple facilities across the globe were finally able to be linked together. While there was an appreciation from IT leaders for progress in networking, this fix has not been without its faults over the years and there has been a demand for refinement and additional technologies.

Familiar Issues

A number of common weaknesses are often observed in enterprises working with WAN. In addition to the extensive cost involved in managing such far-reaching networks, they may also have a tendency to be slow, suffer downtime, and lack the stability and flexibility desired by most organizations.

Questionable Alternatives

While some alternative connectivity and networking methods perform more effectively, certain factors eliminate them from consideration as an option. Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks, for instance, can speed up the WAN through better routing, but the price tag is substantial enough to cause tech leaders to underbuy bandwidth to conserve spending — effectively nullifying any advantage that could be gained.

Another solution is to create a VPN tunnel over common broadband connections. While this improves security and keeps costs lower, any application that could be compromised by lag may experience very spotty performance. In some cases, VPN is used jointly with a limited MPLS arrangement. Since the two cannot operate concurrently, not much usefulness is found in this solution either.

High Potential Possibilities

While other WAN management techniques have been tried and discarded, one that is quickly gaining the interest of technical leaders is Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN). Using SD-WAN, network managers can centrally provision, terminate, optimize, and flex all of the components on the system. Data follows the most efficient route and latency is nearly eliminated. It’s made orchestrating hundreds of access points and switches much simpler, saving IT hours of expensive labor. SD-WAN also leads to cost savings, as it can use cheaper connections like broadband much more efficiently than standard WAN.

Another distinct advantage of SD-WAN is that providers can often bear the burden of management for the company. In this model, the vendor handles everything from maintenance to troubleshooting to updating. This saves the organization labor costs and ensures that the right personnel are working on the right projects rather than being caught up in mundane or non-strategic tasks.

In this world of increasing cloud service options, an SD-WAN infrastructure makes integrating new cloud providers a much more rapid activity, even when multiple company locations are involved.

It’s critical for the future of an enterprise that the network grow and develop into a more manageable tool that easily accommodates growth and flexibility requirements. SD-WAN is one option with great potential to offer in this regard. For more information on WAN evolution and managed SD-WAN technologies, contact ROI Networks today.

5 Ways to Build Better Call Center Coaching Sessions

Call CenterCall center managers are constantly searching for ways to help their teams provide better, more efficient service. Group coaching sessions are an excellent way to create consistency when communicating strategies, techniques, and expectations to agents and representatives, but they need to be carefully designed to ensure their effectiveness.With that in mind, here are five techniques for creating more engaging and productive call center coaching sessions:

Protect Employee Confidentiality
During coaching sessions, avoid calling out individual agents or customer service representatives for errors or inefficiencies. Instead, find private ways of communicating expectations to under-performing employees, or consider using one-on-one coaching for those individuals.

Back It up with Numbers
When the time comes to provide agents and employees with feedback and constructive criticism, it’s always a good idea to back up claims with hard data. For example, rather than telling an individual that his or her quality score has “gone down recently,” offer that it has declined by “X percent over the past Y days/weeks/months.”

This helps employees set tangible improvement goals while giving managers a concrete baseline for evaluating future performance.

Encourage Employees to Evaluate Themselves
Having agents and employees evaluate their own performance, either anecdotally or by using recordings of customer calls, is an excellent way to encourage two-way feedback between management and staff. It also encourages employees to think more critically about how they engage with customers.

Avoid Generalizations
One of the best ways to improve call center agent performance is to be specific rather than general when offering feedback. Again, call recordings can be very helpful in this regard, as they provide specific times, dates, and interactions that managers can use to call employee attention to particular habits or shortcomings.

Offer Positive Feedback
Too often, call center coaching sessions focus on what employees are doing wrong at the expense of what they’re doing right. A little positive reinforcement can go a long way, and encourages employees to work harder at self-improvement. Whenever possible, frame constructive criticism by saying, “You’re doing A, B, and C really well, but I’d like to see you work towards D. Keep up the good work!”

Businesses seeking advanced call center technologies can count on the professionals at ROI Networks to meet their changing needs. To learn more about the ROI Networks suite of solutions, please contact a client services representative.

The CMIO: A Profile of Security Leadership in the Healthcare Industry

december-blog-1For organizations working in the healthcare industry, security is — or should be — at or near the top of the priority list. Cyber criminals frequently target healthcare organizations because they have access to a great deal of highly valuable personal information. Public and private sector organizations that fail to implement safeguards are at risk of security breaches, and that, in turn, can lead to potentially irreversible losses in client confidence.

Thus, the role of the Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) has taken on added urgency in recent years, as the healthcare industry has made rapid moves towards connected technologies. The role of the CMIO is not well-understood by many lay people. For telecom agents, it’s worth taking the time to understand this role and the responsibility that comes with it in order to build packaged solutions that speak directly to the needs of healthcare organization leaders.

Healthcare Information Security: What a CMIO Does
In most organizations, the CMIO is a licensed physician with specialized training or practical experience in information management and/or technology. His or her core duties typically include:

  • Designing and choosing software technologies used by the organization
  • Ensuring organizational IT systems meet established standards
  • Analyzing and managing health data collected from patients or clients
  • Maintaining quality control standards
  • Improving operations through the judicious management and deployment of data
  • Conducting research using available data and analytics tools
  • Reporting to executives and taking a leadership role in strategic development
  • Training senior staff members in the proper use of IT resources, especially with regard to electronic health and medical records (EHRs/EMRs)

It is important to note that security is not typically part of the CMIO’s list of responsibilities. In some organizations, this can create gaps, as cyber security initiatives are left until the end of the business development cycle rather than being addressed at the outset.

Healthcare Information Security: How the CMIO Role Is Evolving
For a long time, it was standard practice for CMIOs to report to either the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). However, a growing number of healthcare organizations are electing to have their CMIOs liaise with their Chief Information Officer (CIO). This reflects the changing nature of the CMIO’s responsibilities, as digital technology is playing an increasing role in healthcare data collection and applications.

As mentioned, security normally does not fall under the CMIO’s portfolio of responsibilities. However, the CMIO is increasingly being expected to partner with the healthcare Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) to build the most effective and robust safeguards possible.

The telecom professionals at ROI Networks offer advanced security solutions for the healthcare industry. To learn more about how ROI Networks can help both public and private sector organizations in the healthcare field improve their cyber security, contact a client services representative today.